Movies with Impact: United Way Film Fest Guide

Movies with Impact: United Way Film Fest Guide

September 14, 2015

Thanks to the funding from Johnson Controls, United Way is proud to partner with the Milwaukee Film Fest for a special screening and panel discussion of Romeo Is Bleeding, a film about the impact of gun violence.

United Way would also like to highlight more than 50 films on homelessness, hunger, and racism which reference and reflect United Way’s areas of impact: Income, Education and Health. We hope any of these films will inspire you to Give, Advocate or Volunteer within the Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha area. 

The 2015 Milwaukee Film Fest runs from Sept 24 - Oct 9. Not sure what to watch? We would like to recommend the following…see you at the movies!

30 Seconds Away: Breaking the Cycle

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

Milwaukee’s homelessness problem is examined by no less an authority than former federal agent and Marquette graduate Faith Kohler in 30 Seconds Away, a vital documentary examination of this issue from all sides of the argument. Spending time with those struggling to survive on the streets as well as with the justice system and Milwaukee police stuck between trying to enforce the law and caring for these forgotten members of society (through means such as our local Homeless Outreach Team), Kohler paints a powerful and empathetic portrait of an ever-growing problem with no easy solutions.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Amour Fou

Program: WORLDVIEWS

Berlin, the Romantic Era. Poet Heinrich von Kleist is desperately searching for someone to enter into a pact with—one both of love and of death. But his desire to enter into such a suicide pact remains unrequited until he meets the enchanting Henriette, a woman whose terminal illness makes for a perfect match in this dark romantic comedy. Impeccably lensed and exquisitely designed, Amour Fou is an artfully crafted and wholly unusual examination of love and death, a remarkable recreation of this real-life figure’s final days and a morbidly beautiful tragicomedy.

More & showtimes

Health


A Ballerina's Tale

Program: BLACK LENS

Misty Copeland, the first African-American female soloist at New York’s American Ballet Theatre, would be the first to tell you that, based on body type, pedigree, and background, she shouldn’t be a part of one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies. But her inspirational story of dogged determination (overcoming a debilitating shin injury, eating disorders, and racial issues), filmed here in a raw, cinéma vérité documentary, will leave no doubt as to how this trailblazer shot her way up the ranks and overcame all obstacles to turn in breathtaking performances in Firebird and Swan Lake.

More & showtimes

Health


Behavior (Conducta)

Program: WORLDVIEWS

A spirited septuagenarian teacher stands in defiance of an education system overrun by bureaucracy that threatens to sweep a troubled young student under the rug in this daring Cuban drama. The only hope macho eleven-year-old Chala has of overcoming his poverty-stricken upbringing (he trains fighting dogs to make money for his drug-addict mother) is through school and his sixth-grade teacher, Carmela, who has earned his begrudging respect and tentative friendship. But when misunderstood Chala is sent to reeducation school, Carmela must fight to preserve his future in this crowd-pleasing festival hit.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income


The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Program: BLACK LENS; Tribute

Into today’s era still struggling with police brutality, racial discrimination, and extreme poverty comes master documentarian Stanley Nelson’s stirring portrait of the Black Panther Party. Following the party from its inception in the early ’60s to its bitter dissolution a decade later, MFF alum Nelson captures the essential history of the movement, elegantly mixing archival footage alongside interviews with FBI informants, journalists, supporters, detractors, and lower-level members of the party. This is a profoundly resonant portrait of a period of time when impatience bred revolution and a vibrant group rose up to bring civil rights issues to the forefront.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income, Community


Breaking a Monster

Program: SOUND VISION

In 2007, a tween trio became viral video sensations when footage of them rocking out in Times Square took the Internet by storm. For Unlocking the Truth, a teenage metal band comprised of three African-American boys, this was only the beginning: They became the youngest band ever to play Coachella and signed a million-dollar recording contract with Sony. This documentary follows along the way with their rapid transformation from tween obscurity to opening for Metallica—a hilarious look at juvenile stardom, where young boys have to deal with rehearsals and touring alongside parents, girls, and video games.

More & showtimes

Education


Call Me Lucky

Program: ART & ARTISTS

A loving documentary tribute to an acerbic comedic voice ahead of its time, Call Me Lucky is an insightful portrait of comedian-turned-humanitarian Barry Crimmins. Known for politically incisive satire (his two main targets: the U.S. government and the Catholic church) and the formation of the Boston comedy scene where he helped break numerous comedic talents, Crimmins’ tortured past led him out of the world of comedy and directly to Capitol Hill. Directed by close friend Bobcat Goldthwait and filled with comedians he influenced (Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt, David Cross), this is a personality profile of a comedic legend who channeled his pain into humor.

More & showtimes

Health


Cincinnati Goddamn

Program: BLACK LENS

It’s a story that has become all too familiar—young, unarmed black men killed by law enforcement agents who have sworn to protect them, followed by protests-turned-riots sparked by the men’s untimely demise. But before Michael Brown and Ferguson, there was Timothy Thomas, Roger Owensby, and Cincinnati. A powerful examination of a moment preceding the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the documentary Cincinnati Goddamn presents a chilling and revealing look into what one academic calls “urban genocide”—a volatile cocktail of systemic racism, widespread poverty, and unchecked police brutality—and the grassroots activism that took to the streets to challenge it.

More & showtimes

Health, Income, Community


Clarence

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

Meet Clarence Garrett, an African-American WWII veteran who had to put his own dreams of a higher education on hold to put his four children through college. But at the ripe age of 85, Clarence decides to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and finally get the last 52 credits that will earn him his bachelor’s degree. However, medical complications from an earlier cancer scare threaten to derail his graduation dreams from becoming a reality. Clarence is an inspirational portrait of an indomitable spirit, a documentary that proves it’s never too late to finish what you started.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Community


Coast to Coast Cuisine (Off the Menu: Asian America & Sturgeon Queens)

Program: FILM FEAST

OFF THE MENU: ASIAN AMERICA

Festival alum Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, MFF2013) provides a road trip through our nation of immigrants, examining the intersection of faith, family, tradition, and great food from Houston to Oahu to Milwaukee.

THE STURGEON QUEENS

100 years, four generations, and an incalculable amount of smoked fish are chronicled in this history of New York’s famed Jewish lox and herring emporium Russ & Daughters. Celebrity testimonials (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Maggie Gyllenhaal) intermingle freely with touching family history to bring this story to life.

More & showtimes

Income, Community


Court

Program: WORLDVIEWS

A naturalistic courtroom drama that has racked up awards at nearly every festival it has played, Court is a fiercely intelligent look at India’s broken judiciary system and the bureaucracy that perpetuates it. Narayan Kamble is a traveling troubadour who takes his socially activist folk songs around working-class communities in an effort to wake them to the wholesale inequality of their day-to-day lives, only to be brought to trial on trumped-up charges accusing him of inspiring a menial worker to commit suicide, setting the stage for class politics writ large.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Difret

Program: WORLDVIEWS

In rural Ethiopia, it is not out of the ordinary for young women to be subjected to marriage abduction—a process by which their kidnappers become their husbands. Fourteen-year-old Hirut takes matters into her own hands, however, escaping her captors and shooting her would-be suitor dead. This would normally be a death sentence for a woman, but news of her brave actions reaches a fiercely independent female lawyer who aims to argue self-defense. Presented by Angelina Jolie, this riveting drama that won the audience award at Sundance and Berlin is a powerful reminder that gender equality is sometimes still a life-and-death struggle.

More & showtimes

Health


Dreamcatcher

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

If anyone can prove capable of getting through to the prostitutes, female prisoners, and at-risk teenagers in Chicago’s inner city, it will be the remarkable real-life heroine Brenda Myers-Powell. Having spent her teenage years in a drug-induced haze and 25 years as a prostitute herself, Myers-Powell knows just how powerful providing support and rehabilitation to these women can prove to be. Dreamcatcher is a critically acclaimed, award-winning, street-level view of this truly inspirational woman and her incredible efforts to break the cycle of physical abuse and poverty. Fans of The Interrupters (MFF2011) shouldn’t miss this!

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income


Eat Sleep Die (Äta sova dö)

Program: PASSPORT: SWEDEN

When no-nonsense, 20-something, Balkan immigrant Raša finds herself relieved of her position as a factory worker, she’s thrust into the miasma of Sweden’s unemployment program for immigrants, a job hunt mired in bureaucracy where numerous candidates fight over limited opportunities, all the while resolute in her attempts to find gainful employment in order to care for her ailing father. Winner of the audience award at the Venice Film Festival, Eat Sleep Die is a stunning debut from director Gabriela Pichler, a naturalistic rallying cry for low-wage workers anchored by a magnetic performance from newcomer Nermina Lukač.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Excuse My French (Lamoakhzaa)

Program: WORLDVIEWS

Precocious youngster Hany’s upper-class existence is thrown into disarray when his father drops dead at dinner. With his mother no longer able to afford his private Christian school, Hany is thrown into the culture shock of public school, where he’s mistaken for Muslim and does nothing to dissuade his classmates, seeing it as an opportunity to fit in. A hilarious coming-of-age comedy that tackles social discrimination and satirizes the Egyptian education system, it’s no wonder the script for Excuse My French was held up by Egyptian censors for four years. Luckily for us, this warmly comic film now sees the light of day.

More & showtimes

Education


The Farewell Party (Mita tova)

Program: WORLDVIEWS

A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home bands together to help their terminally ill friend end life on his own terms in this provocative dramedy that has proved a hit on the festival circuit. When the self-euthanizing device created by Ezekiel and his pensioner cohorts is used successfully, word leaks out among their peers, embroiling them in an ethical morass that only becomes greater when one in their own ranks seeks out its use. Witty and affecting, affording its elderly characters agency we rarely see in mainstream cinema, The Farewell Party tackles its controversial subject matter with good humor and poignancy.

More & showtimes

Health


Finders Keepers

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Your standard story of boy meets grill, Finders Keepers is equal parts absurd and empathetic, yet always hysterically funny. After winning a smoker at auction only to discover it contained the amputated leg of its former owner, a fame-hungry bargain hunter sees this grisly surprise as an opportunity to earn a little cash—but now the previous owner requests its safe return. A media frenzy erupts around this small-town feud, culminating in a courtroom battle as plaintiff and defendant go out on a limb to argue ownership in this uniquely American portrait of greed, fame, and redemption.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


The Glamour & The Squalor

Program: SOUND VISION

Meet the man who discovered the music that defined a generation—Marco Collins, one of the last great rock radio DJs. Collins helped break such artists as Nirvana, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, and Beck while also rekindling an era of popularity for both punk rock and electronic dance music in America. But his story extends far beyond music—battles with drug addiction and stints in rehab, as well as a life spent in the closet before becoming an LGBT spokesperson, combine to forge a riveting documentary about a man whose relentless passion created a musical revolution.

More & showtimes

Health


Good Things Await (Så meget godt i vente)

Program: FILM FEAST

Married octogenarian couple Niels Stockholm and Rita Hansen are pioneers in the world of biodynamic farming, a holistic method that treats every aspect of the farmland (from the tiniest shrub to prized red cattle) as ecologically connected and worthy of the utmost respect—an ethos that has led to them supplying their home country of Denmark’s most prestigious restaurants. However, their farming style is threatened by a Danish government more concerned with persnickety EU regulations. An absorbing documentary from MFF alum Phie Ambo, this film shows the difficulties in maintaining a moral, ethical business in our modern age of farming.

More & showtimes

Education, Health


The Great Alone

Program: SPOTLIGHT

The Iditarod is a treacherous 1,200-mile sled dog race on Alaska’s icescapes—few complete the punishing endurance test, let alone win. Into this great alone steps Lance Mackey, a man with racing in his blood (his mother was mushing with him still in the womb, his father the 1978 champion), who is determined to equal his parents’ accomplishments with his ragtag crew of beloved rescue dogs. After a bout with throat cancer threatens to permanently sideline Lance’s aspirations, he begins his inspiring comeback—archival footage deftly blends with astonishing race footage to capture the ultimate underdog story in this inspiring documentary.

More & showtimes

Health


Hallåhallå

Program: PASSPORT: SWEDEN

A middle-aged recent divorcée finds the impetus to break free from her old habits in this warmhearted Swedish comedy, winner of multiple film festival audience awards. Left by her husband for a younger woman and disrespected in her position as a hospital worker, Disa needs assistance to remove herself from a midlife rut. Luckily for her, the universe provides: be it a martial arts self-defense course to properly channel her anger, a divorced father of seven who awakens romantic possibilities, or a troublesome elderly patient who just might be the key to starting a new life altogether!

More & showtimes

Health


Havana Motor Club

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

The once-vibrant tradition of auto racing in Cuba has been underground for more than 50 years, with Fidel Castro having outlawed the act as an elitist practice in 1959. But national reforms are allowing Cuba’s underground drag racing community to step out of the shadows and, hopefully, compete in the first sanctioned competition in over 50 years. Buoyed by a lively soundtrack, this character-driven documentary follows Cuba’s best racers as they scrap and scrape together the parts to augment their classic American hot rods in the hopes of having the ingenuity to be the first to cross the finish line.

More & showtimes

Income


He Named Me Malala

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

This is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot in Pakistan. The then-fifteen-year-old (she just turned eighteen) was singled out for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund. Acclaimed documentarian Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for ‘Superman’) shows us how Malala, her father, Zia, and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide.

More & showtimes

Education


Hip Hop-eration

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

In New Zealand, a group of elderly Kiwis (ages ranging from 68 to 95) are putting their best dancing feet forward with one goal in mind: competing in Las Vegas at a worldwide hip-hop dance competition. Branded The Hip Op-eration, these spirited dancers are aiming to prove that, at their age, popping and locking isn’t just confined to their joints. This is an inspirational, wildly funny, and altogether refreshing look at a brave group of people determined to prove the adage that age is just a number as they bump and grind their way into your heart.

More & showtimes

Health


Hotell

Program: PASSPORT: SWEDEN

When traditional means aren’t doing the trick for a therapy group in search of emotional breakthroughs, they check into a hotel using alternate personas in an attempt to step outside themselves for a short time in this endearing oddity. Be it Type A interior designer Erika (the amazing Alicia Vikander), unable to cope with a rough pregnancy, terminally shy Ann-Sofie, or the Oedipally inclined Rikard, they all take this opportunity to wrestle with their demons (even engaging in Mayan torture rituals!). Beautifully performed by its ensemble cast with a tone perfectly calibrated between humor and drama, the film makes sure you won’t regret your stay in Hotell.

More & showtimes

Health


How to Dance in Ohio

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

First kisses and school dances are considered traditional points of transition for American teenagers, but for those on the autism spectrum, these intimate rites of passage can prove terrifying exercises in social anxiety. Into this hormonal minefield steps a group of courageous kids from Columbus, OH, who, despite an array of developmental challenges, set out to have their own spring formal. A coming-of-age journey proving the miracle of human connection, How to Dance in Ohio is surprisingly funny and, at other times, heartbreaking as it takes us into the group therapy sessions and private lives of some remarkable young people.

More & showtimes

Education, Health


I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Smetto quando voglio)

Program: SPOTLIGHT

A group of out-of-work academics break bad and decide to join the drug trade in this hilarious cross of Ocean’s Eleven and Breaking Bad. Out-of-work professor Pietro, alongside his team of fellow underemployed academics, develops a marvelous new narcotic concoction that is able to circumvent Italian law by using substances not yet banned. This smash commercial hit and critical success back home in Italy follows Pietro and his friends as they soon find themselves in over their head and being pursued by parties on either side of the law in a whip-smart slice of social satire.

More & showtimes

Income


Imperial Dreams

Program: BLACK LENS, COMPETITION

A redemption tale anchored by an amazing lead performance from John Boyega (star of the upcoming Star Wars film), Imperial Dreams is a family drama with an astonishingly realized father-son relationship at its core. Bambi (Boyega) is coming home to Watts; recently released from prison, he has designs on earning a living as a writer (having been published while incarcerated) to provide for his young son, Day. But he quickly realizes the deck is stacked against him and it’s going to take everything he has to achieve his dreams in this stunning, multiple award-winning drama.

More & showtimes

Education, Income


In a Perfect World

Program: BLACK LENS

Documentarian Daphne McWilliams was looking to craft a film about young men raised by single mothers, so she turned to the strongest source she knows—her son. This courageous examination into modern family life, with McWilliams grounding her sociological study through extraordinarily intimate interviews with her son, Chase, as well as other men raised without a father figure, is revelatory. A story of boys becoming men despite the absence of a male presence and the utterly unique relationships they forge with their mothers, In a Perfect World is stirring, relevant filmmaking.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story

Program: FILM FEAST

Between foodie blogs, TV cooking competitions, and myriad culinary magazines, it’s clear that we love food. So why are we throwing away 50% of it? Documentary filmmaking couple Jen and Grant are horrified by this food waste and quit grocery shopping cold turkey, pledging to live only off of food that is thrown away. A deep dive into our nation’s dumpsters, Just Eat It is a shocking exposé of our food industry—from farm to retail and all the way to the back of our fridge—and its systematic obsession with expiration dates and the aesthetics of perfect produce.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income


King Georges

Program: FILM FEAST

With Le Bec-Fin, one of the country’s finest French restaurants, set to be sold, documentary filmmaker Erika Frankel seeks out its iconic proprietor, Georges Perrier, to film a fitting tribute to this landmark Philadelphia eatery, only to get far more than she bargained for. Perrier withdraws the sale and seeks to reinvigorate Le Bec-Fin, bringing aboard Chef Nicholas Elmi (of Top Chef fame) as his successor, only to find letting go far more of a struggle than he anticipated. Archival footage and interviews with world-renowned chefs make this feast for the eyes a portrait that also touches the heart.

More & showtimes

Income


Krisha

Program: COMPETITION

A feature-length expansion of the short that played at last year’s MFF, Krisha is an explosive psychological exploration of family dynamics on the cutting edge of American independent cinema. A recovering alcoholic and black sheep of the family, 60-something Krisha returns to family over the Thanksgiving holiday, reuniting for the first time in over a decade. But as the night progresses, her confidence in her own rehabilitation begins to wane and her precarious emotional state begins to unravel. It is an extraordinary feature debut with a dizzying lead performance reminiscent of Gena Rowlands in the Cassavetes classic A Woman Under the Influence.

More & showtimes

Health


Landfill Harmonic

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Taking the notion that one person’s trash is another’s treasure beyond one’s wildest imagination, members of Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra of Cateura have forged all of their musical instruments out of repurposed goods from the massive landfill that looms over their neighborhood. Armed with a beautiful mission statement (“The world sends us garbage, we send back music”) and newfound fame after their performance footage goes viral, the orchestra takes to the world stage, performing sold-out shows and spreading their joyful idealism. But when natural disaster strikes back home, the orchestra must band together and provide a message of hope to their beleaguered town in this inspirational portrait of perseverance.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income


A Little Game

Program: RATED K: FOR KIDS

Max is struggling to fit in; a gifted 10-year-old girl in New York City, she’s been pulled from her local school and placed into a private school, just as her beloved grandmother suddenly passes. While at private school, she discovers an affinity for chess. Under the tutelage of a grumpy old man (F. Murray Abraham) whose lessons about the game could apply to her entire life, Max might just bloom! A sweet film with positive messages about girl power and class awareness, A Little Game is a star-studded affair (Ralph Macchio, Janeane Garofalo, Olympia Dukakis) with heart to spare.

More & showtimes

Education, Income


Little White Lie

Program: BLACK LENS

A documentary released at a perfect point in our culture when knotty intersections of race and identity are making headlines, Little White Lie tells one woman’s remarkably intimate story of a life spent between two worlds. Raised white with her dark skin color and curly hair explained away as an inheritance from her Sicilian grandfather, the director Lacey Schwartz can’t fight the nagging feeling that her upper-middle-class Jewish upbringing is hiding something, only to find she was the product of her mother’s affair with a black man. After her biological father’s passing, she cannot hold back this family secret any longer.

More & showtimes

Identity


The Look of Silence

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

A critically acclaimed companion piece to the breathtaking look into the heart of darkness that was The Act of Killing (the sensation of MFF2013), The Look of Silence approaches the 1960s Indonesian genocide not from the perspective of its perpetrators but the survivors. It is an unflinching glimpse into forgiveness and denial, every bit the equal of its Oscar-nominated predecessor. Refusing to raise his children in a society cowed into silence, a young man returns to the scene of these atrocities to confront what murderers remain and make them look at the past—a dangerous proposition when they remain in power.

More & showtimes

Education, Health


Mala Mala

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

A beautifully shot exaltation of Puerto Rico’s transgender community, Mala Mala is an exuberant look into gender identity in an evolving era. We follow drag queens (not least of which is April Carrión from RuPaul’s Drag Race), prostitutes, business owners, and others as they find themselves on the simultaneous frontlines of self-discovery and political activism and as they fight for equal treatment and acceptance from society. A candy-colored celebration that takes the time to sensitively and intimately explore the dark personal experiences that have shaped these trans folk, this is a timely portrait of a community on the rise.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Margarita, with a Straw

Program: WORLDVIEWS

Laila (an astonishing turn from French-Indian actress Kalki Koechlin) is a spirited university student, undeterred by her cerebral palsy from having the traditional college experience, romance and all. A transfer from Delhi University to NYU, she finds herself in an entirely new world in more ways than one. A relationship is struck with a fiery female activist on campus, one that allows for an awakening both creatively and sexually. An inspirational love story tackling subject matter rarely explored with lightheartedness, director Shonali Bose’s Toronto International Film Festival award-winning drama is joyous cinema that is bound to win your heart.

More & showtimes

Education, Health


The Milwaukee Show I

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

Perennially one of the festival’s hottest tickets, this first of two installments celebrating our wealth of homegrown filmmaking talent includes styles ranging from documentaries to fiction to experimental films—be it the story of a man with a giant thumb for a head, a documentary following the weird world of sport drumming, or the story of a rock band that goes head to head with an invading UFO!

More & showtimes

Community


The Milwaukee Show II

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

The second installment of our local celebration brings us even more diverse styles and voices from the local film scene, with stories ranging from a documentary about a Kenyan sound engineer's work in African crisis zones to Orson Welles' "war of the Worlds" broadcast coming to life in our very own public museum, and even a claymation short about a cat-hating grump saddled with an affection-seeking kitten.

More & showtimes

Community


Milwaukee Music Video Show

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

A program that proves the local film scene is every bit the equal of that of our thriving local music scene, the Milwaukee Music Video Show plays host to a variety of musical acts Vic and Gab, Webster X, Field Report, Sylvan Esso, Victor DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes) and the wildly creative local filmmakers who bring their varied soundscapes to visual life. Fun, creative bursts of energy occur as these artistic disciplines combine, a toe-tapping, head-banging, hip-swaying celebration of local art displayed on the majestic big screen of the Oriental Theatre.

More & showtimes

Community


The Milwaukee Youth Show

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

It's not just the adults making stunning contributions to our local film scene, as this wide-ranging showcase aims to prove. After you take in the diversity of viewpoints and styles crafted by our eminently talented youngers (documentary, fiction, animation, live action, music video, and PSAs are all covered here), you'll be excited for the next generation of Cream City Cinema!

More & showtimes

Community


Most Likely to Succeed

Program: SPOTLIGHT

This forward-facing documentary inspires reform to an antiquated education system that is leaving nearly half of our college graduates unable to find employment. Most Likely to Succeed points toward a future of innovation and revitalizes teachers and students alike. Our education system was perfectly designed to prepare workers for jobs that no longer exist, and as we try to out-drill and out-test Korea, we leave millions of young adults ill-prepared, uninspired, and lacking the skills they need in our modern era. After seeing these unorthodox trailblazers at the forefront of project-based learning, you’ll be itching to enroll yourselves!

More & showtimes

Education, Income


My Love, Don't Cross that River

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

In what may be the most romantic documentary ever made (and the most successful Korean indie film of all time), we stay in a South Korean mountain village with 89-year-old Gyeyeul Kang and her husband, 98-year-old Byongman Jo, married for 76 years. We follow them over the course of a year, watching their intimate day-to-day routine (he picks flowers for her, she warms him by the hearth, they fall asleep with hands clasped tightly each night). But not even love can slow the passage of time, and this couple known locally as “100-year-old lovebirds” realizes their time together may be winding to a close.

More & showtimes

Health


My Skinny Sister

Program: PASSPORT: SWEDEN

Sisters Katja and Stella couldn’t be more different, with Katja (Swedish pop star Amy Deasismont) a slender, confident figure-skating obsessive and Stella (newcomer Rebecka Josephson, a magnetic young talent you won’t soon forget) self-conscious of her body and treated as something of an ugly duckling in her dysfunctional family. But when Stella discovers Katja’s slim frame is the result of her battle with anorexia, their sisterly dynamic is upended. Winner of multiple festival awards, My Skinny Sister captures its coming-of-age drama with compassion and insight (no surprise, given director Susanna Lenken based this story on her own childhood).

More & showtimes

Health


No One's Child (Nicije dete)

Program: COMPETITION

Playing “like a bleakly beautiful fairy tale by the brothers Grimm” (International Federation of Film Critics), this film takes us deep into the mountains of Bosnia, where we’re introduced to a feral child living among the wolves. Upon his discovery in 1988, he is sent to a Belgrade orphanage. There, he struggles to relate to his peers until a friendship allows him to embrace humanity, only for the Balkan War to put pressure on his caretakers to return him to his homeland. Based on a remarkable true story, this gripping exploration of human nature is a compassionate look at personal and national identity.

More & showtimes

Education


One for the Road

Program: WORLDVIEWS

Three octogenarian friends embark on a road trip to fulfill their friend’s final wish in this heartfelt Spanish comedy. He wishes for his prized possession—a napkin with a draft of a song by legendary Ranchera singer José Alfredo Jiménez—to be bequeathed to Jiménez’s official museum. The trio embarks on a journey in defiance of loved ones and fears for their safety, engaging in a series of comic adventures that remind them that their golden years need not be spent solely reflecting on past memories. They can, in fact, be an opportunity to create entirely new ones.

More & showtimes

Health


Paper Tigers

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

An attempt to heal a broken system, Paper Tigers documents one rural community’s effort to do right by some of its at-risk youth. Walla Walla, Washington’s Lincoln Alternative High School is set at the epicenter of the community’s problems, right at the intersection of drug abuse, gang activity, and violence. When the school principal learns new information about the effects of childhood trauma on developing brains, he implements a new strategy to help the students heal. Following six students (armed with personal diary cams) throughout the year, we see the value of an educational system based in love, understanding, and healing.

More & showtimes

Education, Income


Peace Officer

Program: SPOTLIGHT

Former Utah sheriff William “Dub” Lawrence is as familiar with the militarization of law enforcement as one could possibly be—founder of Utah’s first SWAT team, he presided over numerous drug busts and raids. But in a cruel twist of fate, he bared witness 30 years later to his son-in-law’s controversial death at the hands of the very unit he created. Utterly of the moment, Peace Officer follows Dub’s efforts to uncover the truth behind his tragedy while researching officer-related shootings that happened nearby. This Oscar-worthy exposé that shows the ever-widening gulf between the police and those they’re sworn to protect is appointment viewing in a country where unarmed protesters and innocent civilians are often being seen as threats.

More & showtimes

Education, Community


Radical Grace

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Following three fearless nuns who champion social justice and the equal treatment of women in the Catholic church at the risk of their placement in it, Radical Grace places us at the center of this struggle for the future of the church. When their platform of support for social and economic reform, the Affordable Care Act, and reintegration of ex-cons into society puts them directly in the crosshairs of the Vatican, these remarkable women refuse to back down—challenging the patriarchal system that values rules over people and winning over new converts (and a new pope) along the way.

More & showtimes

Education, Health, Income


The Russian Woodpecker

Program: COMPETITION

Eccentric Ukrainian Fedor Alexandrovich, endearing performance artist and childhood survivor of the Chernobyl disaster, has always suspected the truth behind the incident that left him irradiated was being kept from him. When a dark secret reveals a web of deceit extending into the roots of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, he must decide if revealing this truth is worth the great personal risk it poses, with tensions between Russia and Ukraine once again at their breaking point. Cultural history, personal portrait, and conspiracy thriller combine in this thrilling and humorous documentary that captures history repeating itself before our very eyes.

More & showtimes

Health


The Second Mother

Program: WORLDVIEWS

A contemporary take on the upstairs-downstairs melodrama, The Second Mother is a warmly humorous character study of a live-in housekeeper in Sao Paulo and the estranged daughter who comes to stay with her and the family she tends to. While working-class heroine Val is proud of the work she does for her employer, her daughter Jessica (in town to enroll in university) is less than impressed, upsetting the household status quo and throwing into question hierarchies and social structures long since established. Val is led to question where her loyalty resides—with her proxy family or with her own flesh and blood.

More & showtimes

Education, Income


A Separation

Program: PASSPORT: SWEDEN

In this tragicomic documentary that captures the very moments at which a family dissolves, filmmaker Karin Ekberg films her parents as they go about the messy business of finalizing their divorce—packing up and dividing their property, a process that dredges up old memories and new emotions in both mother and father. Unsentimental, unsparing, and rigorously honest, A Separation shows the very different ways Mr. and Mrs. Ekberg are looking to move on after 38 years of marriage—her mother seeing an exciting opportunity for change and growth while her father clings desperately to a happiness that has long since passed.

More & showtimes

Health


Seymour: An Introduction

Program: SOUND VISION

Oscar-nominated actor Ethan Hawke takes to the director’s chair to bring you one of the best-reviewed documentaries of the year, a wonderfully warm and witty portrait of his good friend and classical pianist, Seymour Bernstein. A fitting tribute to an engaging personality, the film offers an intimate and lucid examination of a man who gave up a successful concert career to teach his art to others. Filled with unforgettable stories and touching insights into the creative pursuits that craft a life filled with meaning, this is one introduction you wish would never end.

More & showtimes

Education


T-Rex

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Meet the fiercest teenager in America: boxing phenom Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, on the hunt for Olympic gold in 2012 (the first year women’s boxing was included in the Summer Games). Determined to bring her family with her out of their challenging circumstances (her hometown is the economically depressed Flint, MI), Shields is the center of this crowd-pleasing story of female empowerment in the very non-feminine context of Olympic-level boxing. T-Rex is a stirring underdog story tracking one superlative athlete’s dream and her steadfast determination to achieve it even in the face of insurmountable odds. Meet a new kind of American heroine.

More & showtimes

Income, Community


TransFatty Lives

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Patrick O’Brien, aka charismatic Internet sensation TransFatty, spent his days partying and making bizarre art films. But a sudden diagnosis of ALS left him with a stark timeline: two to five years to live. Instead of accepting his fate, O’Brien pushed forward, finding love and embracing fatherhood even as physical faculties failed him one by one (10 years later, he communicated his editing instructions on this film through movement of his pupils). An unabashed self-portrait of a man’s spirit growing as his body wilts, this Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award-winning documentary is a life-affirming look at one man’s incredible will to live.

More & showtimes

Health


Uncertain

Program: COMPETITION

Hauntingly evocative, Uncertain is a Southern gothic capturing life in the titular and tiniest of American towns (“You’d have to be lost in order to find it,” the local sheriff explains), a place so exotic it beggars belief. We follow three wayward souls looking to start over (Uncertain, TX exerts a magnetic pull over those fleeing their past) in a documentary told with a distinct lack of condescension. While Uncertain, TX may be on the brink of disappearing altogether (a natural weed is slowly choking off its water source), you’re sure to never forget it after viewing this astoundingly beautiful documentary debut.

More & showtimes

Health, Income


Welcome to Leith

Program: DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL FAVORITES

The North Dakota town of Leith (population: 24) sees its community grow by one with the arrival of notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb, who begins buying up plots of land with the goal of taking over the local government and making the town a white nationalist stronghold. Tensions rise as free speech is put to the test by this attempted takeover, with the citizens of Leith scrambling to make sure their unwanted neighbor doesn’t fulfill his chilling vision. An unsettling look at extremist views that still persist, Welcome to Leith is documentary as thriller, a pulse-pounding portrait of our melting pot brought to its boiling point.

More & showtimes

Income, Community


Wisconsin's Own (Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club & Tale of the Spotted Cow)

Program: FILM FEAST

OLD FASHIONED: THE STORY OF THE WISCONSIN SUPPER CLUB (d. Holly L. De Ruyter)

A local dining tradition that has managed to persevere, the supper club is a unique experience that places the emphasis on family and hospitality, and this documentary celebrates the wonderful history and tradition behind this uniquely Wisconsin experience.

TALE OF THE SPOTTED COW (d. Bill Roach)

A documentary about the creators of Wisconsin’s signature craft beer, the founders of New Glarus Brewery. Their rags-to-riches tale is an important and inspirational piece in the rich tapestry that is our state’s hop-filled history.

More & showtimes

Income, Community


Yoopera!

Program: CREAM CITY CINEMA

What do you get when you combine the cultural heritage of Yoopers—those born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—and the classical tradition of opera (or oopera, if you’re Finnish)? You get Yoopera!, an exuberant documentary about a group of people gathering together to tell their local and family history in a beautifully artistic fashion. We follow the commission and production of a major opera for and of the people, maintaining the legacy of family stories and celebrating the history of people who eked out a living in the beautiful and remote U.P.

More & showtimes

Education, Community


Youth

Program: SPOTLIGHT

An early Oscar front-runner, Youth combines an amazing cast (Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, and Harvey Keitel) and director (Paolo Sorrentino, whose The Great Beauty was the 2014 Foreign Language Oscar winner and 2013 Milwaukee Film Members-Only screening) for a deeply moving meditation on life and love. Filled with exquisite imagery, the film follows Fred (Caine), a retired longtime composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter (Weisz) and best friend, renowned filmmaker, Mick (Keitel) who is working on his last screenplay, for a brief sojourn in the Swiss Alps. As they reflect on their shared past, the men realize some of the most formative experiences can come later in life. Caine and Keitel give two of their finest performances.

More & showtimes

Health

Have something to say? LEAVE A COMMENT:

The following required items were not provided or are in the wrong format. Please provide the required responses and submit again:

Your email address will not be published. All fields Required.

Name: 
  Please enter your name
  Please enter a valid email
Comment: 
  Please enter a comment

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukehsa County blog and social media presence is designed as a source for information, sharing and collaboration about United Way and health and human service related topics. As part of our commitment to our readers, we expect all posters to abide by the following rules:
 • Posts and comments should be on topic, conversational, and serve to educate or entertain  
 • Posts and comments may not be unlawful, fraudulent, threatening, libelous, defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, obscene or otherwise rude or in poor taste
 
 • Posts and comments may not be used for any commercial purpose or otherwise to promote any outside organization or its activities

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County reserves the right, at our discretion, to remove any post or to revoke a user’s privilege to post to our page. Comments found to be in conflict with the guidelines above will be removed promptly.
Comments are not necessarily those of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and its employees and we do not guarantee the accuracy of these posts.

Please wait while we gather your results.
© 2018 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 39-0806190.
top